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Jack Quinn Jun 7
Rubber soled trainers broke the brick
Like the boom of the people tether the streets
Tight strapped caps wander and roam
Strolling the daylight for a place of their own

Screeching and whirring filling the room
Monoxide smog frogs that cling to their moulds
We the people; hardened in soul
A splash in the distance tearing a hole

Enoch and Edna turn in their grave
Darkened cobble flattened; all glazed
Mirrors and cladding click into place
A village that weeps, constant refined

Express the formidable now done and alone
Never your own
EST marks the alleys; so nuanced, so cool
If you knew the truth; that's a tenner!
You fool
there were dandelions on the grass
dear girl, the smell of an Alcatraz flower is fresh on my linen
but sometimes I look back
and wonder if this city wears a too thick a coat
while it struts pantless over the sidewalks of
Macarther Park

there is liturgy mumbled, a woman waving her hands in the air–
Sunday school prayers being learned in Spanish
tri-folded pamphlets on the floor
and gum over the pavement blackened by the cooperative march
of immigrant workers speaking in all tongues and carrying
on their backs, the tower of babel while halted at a red light

heavy cargo trucks speeding down Alameda Street
wearing down the road and the patience of drivers
tents multiplied, and R.V's lining the streets  
the old buildings being torn down and neighboring apartments  getting face-lifts  
"beautification"
costs
more than headshots–
more than a rhinoplasty–
more than the real estate of DTLA–
when you see two kids come out of a tent with their school backpacks on
–you begin to grasp the price

Is this what Keats meant: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever "
even while destitute
the neon pink on their bags seemed like another gift of spring
and their perseverance the paragon of  a psalm of life
S Kim Nguyen Mar 8
I dreamt recently
that a girl fell from the top of
a skyscraper so tall
by the time she collided with
the concrete below,
they had already told her
she would not make it.
I wonder if they had spoken
with soft, mellow voices,
or if they had given it to her
matter-of-fact. I wonder
what the firing synapses of
her brain looked like the fraction of
a millisecond before impact.
I wonder if she had time to
go  through all the stages of grief.
And maybe that’s why I
could take a jackhammer
to the despicable skyline,
the ugly glass prison in
that new, hip neighborhood
They™ are calling “Van Mission.”
Everything reminds me
we have terra cotta bodies.
Everything reminds me
my bones are not bird bones.
In some years, if I die falling off a higher-rise,
know that I fired through denial,
then just anger, anger, anger,
all the way down.
Carlo C Gomez Feb 15
Oil
Exhaust
Handstand theatre
In the back of a van
Underground avenue
Has the scent of
Stale black licorice
Melted into the sidewalk
The familiar odor of traffic
Is a pedestrian substitute
For the Old World charm
This renovated place
Paved over
Long
Ago
I’ve cried a lot over you
It was a nasty break up

When I left I said
We’re through
And
I’m never coming back

It’s been 18 years now
And I’ve seen and heard things about you
In the meantime

And I have to say
With no ill intent
That you have really let yourself go
I wasn’t prepared for this in coming back
It’s ironic because it’s why I left you

When I washed my hands of you
I consoled myself
With thinking
In fact
Knowing
That you were a *****
Who gave it up too easily
Or a monster like Frankenstein’s
Electrified on a table
Not quite dead
But not quite alive

A friend once said that you were
Always nicely coiffed
But walked about
With a long trail
of **** smeared toilet paper stuck
to the bottom of your superb shoe
Scraping under and behind
And unbeknownst to you

I’ve walked and walked
Everywhere
With a book
So as not to look
Crazy
And I’ve sat waiting
For you to appear
Suddenly

I’ve sniffed the air
For you
On this street and on that
Stalking you really
But you were gone.
I sat in that park for a long time

Washington Square
With my little book
After
One short story or two I closed the book
I left
There’s nothing here.
You’re gone.

The first time you made me stop
in my tracks completely
I was bewildered on First Avenue
heading south
It was long ago
Now I realize that it
was
a premonition
I was suddenly lost
I stared at the sign that read
K-I-E-V in neon to my left
I told myself
“You know where you are”
“You know exactly where are you are”
And in any event, keep heading south
“You know where you are.”

Upon my return
all these years later
it happened again on Canal
I stared hard at elderly Chinese couples
Hoping for eye contact
which I never got
Looking for an answer
An explanation
Their strategy for survival
Is this Co-Existence or a Time Loop gone WRONG?
How many of us are actually ghosts?
An old boyfriend told me once that they don’t like you.
And neither do the Poles.

“Is this the real life?”

I forgot until quite recently that
Not so long
afterwards
in Astor Place
I thought about you again
I thought that you must have moved over one block
West
But that’s just not possible.
It really is you.
This is you.

So casting you to the side
as I have done
As I had done
Will it help me at all?
Has it helped me at all!

Now I wonder if you are
a captive monster
rendered impotent
by steel and concrete?
Or a jammed low frequency
that dulls the mind
which Science won’t render mute?
Was it a healing potion
The perfect ratio
of
**** and **** and rage
That was
The Most Holy of Trinities?
Spurned and now this

If we made it again
A perfect batch
Could it re-start your heart and keep it
beating?
Like the Doctor in the stormy moonlight?

Do the tides help at all?
I don’t miss you if that’s what you’re thinking.
A Simillacrum Jun 2018
There are poor neighborhoods
that are tucked into towns,
where the less educated,
where the lesser of means,
find in the dregs, the ability
to coexist with higher society.

Society is grown to the point of disease,
killing the feeble, disabling the lost,
in the name of and for some ease.
So here comes the city, meaning so well.
They said, "Let's add a train line
to a town that has none!"

Well, there goes the block.
There go the people who
barely have homes.

The Council wants to drop a line
where they see shoes bounce power lines.
What's the harm in displacing
the part of the community already dead?
The town now seems to be just fine
now that the poor are paying fines.
Why not double down and just
gentrify when history tells the story best?

Expand Portland, rid Tigard of blemish,
trade your rug for cement and track.
Beautify Tigard, please your ill desire,
don't be surprised when your eyesore
comes back.

Go ahead, pave your poverty.
Go ahead, clean your streets.
You're thinking, "Lines for dimes."
What do you think a new line means?
What do you think the traffic brings?
The sweet guillotine repeats.
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